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Time Alone: By Denise Young on Pandora
In his “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” (AAWS 36th Printing 2002) Bill Wilson warns us: ‘For the wise have always known, no-one can make much of their lives until self-searching becomes a regular habit. The Emotional Hangover is the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excessive emotions–anger, fear, jealousy. Nothing pays off like restraint of pen and tongue.’
First, if all you read was the Big Book, you got three paragraphs on pg 84-85 (3rd Edition – 1976) and sure, the information was good alright, but mentions nothing of the insights above: an eight page essay. Bill had learned a lot in 10 years, as we all hope to go on doing throughout our lives.
Continuous Inventory is our process of change. What we hear and read: we listen to and study. What we listen to and study- we practice. What we practice – we learn. What we learn – we believe and what we believe — we eventually become.
None of it does any good if we don’t exert a continued effort to make this our default behavior. We’re about to try and make this our new response instead of resorting to our old knee-jerk reactions. Surely, it will take patience and tolerance with ourselves.
Even though it sounds like a children’s story of lore, “Counting to ten or 100” and taking some deep breaths to calm ourselves BEFORE we respond,…. is the best way to turn that Neanderthal part of our Ego (the Id – thanks, Dr. Sigmund F.) into that open-minded, emotionally balanced Homo Sapiens Ego (the Super Ego) which Freud tells us is the part of self that guides us in our becoming social with other members of society This, so that we don’t drool, rant, and throw feces at them by paranoically jumping the gun, only to find our childish emotional reactions have been premature, inappropriate and even dead wrong. This,…..is what this writer sees as the crux of Step Ten – (and don’t even think after ten years I have it down or all sorted out. I don’t).
In closing, here’s another reading from the book: “Living the 12 Steps of Recovery – One Day at a Time – As it Was in the Beginning,” (Wing & a Prayer Publishing, October 2010). It’s a Classic Revival of all our near 80 year old principles, in daily affirmations on each of the steps and traditions, in a monthly rotation.
It tells you. It tells you it told you, and then it tells you again using classical sonata form as a learning tool: introduction, expansion and recapitulation.
Self-Searching is the Method By Which We Learn
When we feel ourselves getting tangled up in pride, anger, and fear, we’ll realize our emotional balance is tilted. Thatâ€™s when we step back and think, applying the admission and correction of errors, doing it in the now, instead of ipso facto (after the fact). After having some term of practice, it will automatically occur to us when weâ€™re disturbed that something is also wrong with us.
In all unbalanced moments we will need self-restraint, honest analysis, a willingness to admit, and compassion to forgive. Our first objective will become self-restraint, in particular of pen and tongue (which often is now keyboard)Â for there is no room for quick-tempered criticism or power-driven argument, nor can we immerse ourselves in sulking or silent scorn.
We will realize that justified anger is not something we can handle nor separate from a potential flash of rage or frenzy. It seems for us, all these conditions are emotional booby traps, each baited with possible knee-jerk pride and vengefulness.
In time, we will become aware that like ourselves, all people are to some extent emotionally sick and frequently wrong. When we witness this in ourselves and others, we learn to apply the virtues of patience, kindness, justice, and love in an effort to bring about harmony. Our objective is going to become an honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to forgive and try for better tomorrows.
Wishing all the best of contentment – joy in our lives of recovery